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Heaven and Hell» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Get to Heaven, or go to Hell trying: a card game review rss

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Michelle Lloyd
Australia
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Publisher: Haywire Group and Wicked Good Games
Year: 2006
Players: 2-4
Ages: 9 and up
Playing Time: 10 mins

The Idea:
This is a card game, designed to get you winning more hands and thereby keeping you closer to Heaven, while at the same time moving your opponent closer to Hell. If you get to Hell first - you go down in flames!

What’s in the box:
In a very neat little box you get-
• A deck of 56 Heaven and Hell cards. There are four different card suits - orange angel, purple angel, gold angel, and Hell cards - with varying values on them
• Two scorekeeping cards (you only use one half of a card, so that’s all you need for 4 players)
• Four blank dice in red, white, blue, and black that are used as markers on the score cards

Game play summary:
To set up the game, everyone chooses a color dice. Everyone starts out in Heaven, and as the game progresses moves towards Hell.

The Heaven and Hell cards are shuffled, and the dealer gives 3 face down to each player. This is the size of their hand for the remainder of the game. The remaining cards are the draw pile, put face down on the table. The top card is turned over and placed next to it - this is the discard pile.

A turn consists of either taking the top card from the deck, or taking a card from the top of the discard pile, then discarding a card. The objective is relatively simple - build up your hand to the highest possible value, using cards of the same suit (orange angels, purple angels, gold angels, or Hell cards). If you feel that you probably have the strongest hand at the table - knock on the table to signal you want to challenge your opponents. Your opponents each take one last turn in an effort to acquire the best hand. The knocker, however, doesn’t.

There are rules specific to the Hell cards. If you are the knocker and any of your opponents have Hell cards, the value of them is deducted from your total. If, however, you knock with a hand of Hell cards, you are immune to everyone else’s and no points are deducted from you.

There is a special rule called "31 beats all". If your cards total 31, you automatically win the hand. Nothing beats it, and no points are deducted from anyone else’s Hell cards.

If you are the knocker and your hand wins, each of your opponents moves one space towards Hell. If you are the knocker and your hand loses however, you must advance two spaces towards Hell, so make sure you are relatively confident! If anyone has the "31 beats all" hand, everyone else moves two spaces towards Hell. There are arrows on the score cards to indicate the direction the markers need to be moved.

The cards are then reshuffled and the next round begins. Play continues until all but one player has reached the Hell space at the bottom of the score card. The remaining player is the winner.

I love this game for it’s simplicity. I feel that it’s very overlooked, but it’s a quick fun game that’s easy to learn. It was easy enough for my nine and ten year old niece and nephew to pick it up quickly, and the rules include scoring examples with pictures of winning hands and losing hands to demonstrate the rules.

Who would like it?:

I think this would be a good one to play with the kids, as it’s short enough to ensure they won’t lose interest halfway through, and easy enough that they’ll pick up what’s going on fairly quickly.

It would also be a great game for people just starting to broaden their horizons away from scrabble, monopoly, etc, as they won’t be lost in a sea of complicated rules.

My related game recommendations:
“Odin’s Ravens" - Rio Grande Games. This one is actually my favorite card game, and I can’t recommend it enough. Be the first to get your raven to the end of the flight path while stopping your opponent from doing the same. And it even has little wooden ravens - who can resist that!

“Jungle Speed" - Gibsons Games. Another great card game, for up to 15 people. Snap with a really fun twist. Very much a party game.

“Poison" - Playroom Entertainment. Add your potion card to the cauldron, but try not to end up with any poison cards in return! Quick, fun, easy for the kids to learn.
 
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Sean Ross
Canada
North Vancouver
British Columbia
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For anyone who might be interested, Heaven and Hell is a commercial variant of the standard deck card game 31/Scat/Ride the Bus (it's called Blitz here at BGG). It's a fun, light game; good for passing time at the cottage with friends and family. You can play with up to 9 people but fewer is better. The Hell suit penalty in the packaged version is a new wrinkle which can be ported back to the original game.
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Michelle Lloyd
Australia
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I forgot to add to my recommendations another great card game, "Incan Gold" by Sun River Games. I can't believe I overlooked it, as it's also one of my favourite card games. Simple choices - keep looking in the pyramid, or leave with your booty. Time it right and leave with everything. Time it wrong - leave empty handed. I love, love, LOVE that game!
 
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Richard Berg
United States
South Carolina
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As Mark Twain said, "You go to Heaven for the weather and to Hell for the company."

RHB
 
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